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>> this "the chris matthews show". >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> tear down this wall. >> i can hear you. >> the time for change has come. chris: frightened words amid all the loving words for compromise and the lit-up capital switch boards demanding a deal, the red hot republicans are blaming obama. they want him to be kept blamed. they are raring to win with it. they make an average of $270 million a year but pay squat in taxes. they get hit like poor folk. why do the top 400 have it so good. why do the people that rail against big government pay so little for it. rick perry is getting in this thing, but how is the country going to react to a 10 gallon
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sized george w bush. what about the brains it takes to be the number one world leader? you have heard this thing the other way, could this guy be all cattle and no hat. hi, i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us today, howard fineman, nia-malika henderson, andrea mitchell and michael duffy. first off today, the switch boards led up this work with protests over grid look. at the polls. the most motivated republican voters are not fallen to house republican tactics. 73% of voters blame president obama, not the house republicans. and republicans think that debt cash will help them defeat the president. here is how they'll play the president's failure to win the grand bargain on the day. they'll claim the president showed weak leadership, that he was not the post-partisan compromiser, he that is still a big spender and probably most crucial, they'll tie this crisis to the jobs crisis. howard, right now there is a lot of heat all over the place, a lot of it against the right, the tea party people.
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come next year, how will the conservatives and the republicans use this whole deal over the debt against the president? >> well, the president's great vulnerability is that he is somehow irrelevant. if he was weak and not really involved in the final dealings on the budget crisis, that ties in the republicans' hope to a larger narrative to how he has been ineffective generally on the economy, how he hasn't shown strong leadership in the creation of jobs. they're going to try to create a narrative contradictory on the one hand. on the one hand, they're saying he is a powerful unencumbered big spender, but mostly nice guy, but in effect you'll. >> the president never submitted a plan. don't they have a case that he really wasn't a leader? >> he will try to make the case. but his play is that the independents, the broad center of the country, that's where they think elections are decided. he emerges from all of this mess where people are saying a pox on
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all their houses. we hate them all, why can't you grow up. he emerges of being above the fray, that's the hope. chris: the daddy or mommy figure, if you will, doesn't he have to keep order? >> it depends on how it plays out. the bottom line is how the end result all the way down the road plays out on the economy and on the jobs' numbers next week. chris: a lot of americans were thrilled this might be post-partisan, this guy would be able to bring back peace and maybe maturity in washington. he hasn't been able to do it. is that going to hurt? are they going to use that against him? >> i think they'll try to use that against him. his play is he was the one who was willing to go against his own party on raising the bush tax cuts, we remember that grand deal in december when there was a threat over that. i think he'll be able to come and again reach for that silent center. chris: do you think he got hurt this week by going out into the trenches and looking partisan,
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going on television, basically 9:00 at night during the week and taking a political side. did that hurt him? >> even though we in the press were a little annoyed by that because he didn't make a lot of news there, in that instance, he was talking to the independents. the polls show that most people agree with them. 60% show that a lot of folks wanted a more balanced approach. this will play into the grander argument that says the tea party, they were the rigid folks. boehner wasn't able to get maybe in control of that party. he'll be able to make the argument that he stands between the nation and the tea party chris: is he still vulnerable on spending? he talked about cutting some spending, but he hasn't had to do it yet. >> he took a trillion, by the time we're done, he has to take a trillion dollars of spending up. he was vulnerable enough to take that without the revenue, without the loophole closings that he talked about just a few weeks ago. that's an advantage. at least he took some kind of hit. chris: under pressure though? >> under pressure. as nia points out, this is all about the middle. we can argue what the flanks are
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doing in this whole giant charade. but where the money is for the candidates, for the parties, is who wins the middle next year. chris: don't the public won't lower taxes? don't the public -- doesn't the public believe the government spends too much? don't the republicans, to their credit, have the winning side on those two arguments? >> particularly on spending. they know there is too much spending. most of the public knows there is too much spending. when the president started this whole thing, he thought we're not in the center right country. we're in the center left. this last whole year for obama has been about learning that the country is still center right. that's true. >> i think the way he has prospered in the past, we have always focused on what a charismatic guy he is and what a great speaker he is he has also benefited from the surrounding political situation. it turned out that it was great to run against hillary clinton as an outsider. he is going to benefit from the situation here. he looks weak right now. but when it's up against him versus the tea party, and that's
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how david axelrod and the democrats are going to try to frame it, barack obama -- chris: is that what color the sky is on the democratic side? they believe it's him against -- >> him versus the tea party. he gets the middle and he said, look, i was passive there. my hands were tied. i'm still the most reasonable man in the room and he puts jay carney out there every day, the press secretary. chris: a very reasonable guy. >> he has to quickly reassure the base. there are very committed voters out there, they are the democratic base, the elderly, they vote and they think that he has sold them down the river on medicare and social security. he has to set that straight. >> he is going to say, also, hey, if it weren't for me, the tea party would have destroyed medicare and social security. chris: let's talk about the vulnerability and that's the rich people. i keep being taken with these numbers. i guess i knew conceptually people made $270 million a year in income, not wealth, income, and they pay like 18%, which is
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a little bit above the cap gains rate. we have been able to point out is about the rate that a person cleaning these offices at night gets, has to pay, about 18% working poor. >> this is one of the things where i don't think they have done a very good job of actually ringing the register. the president went after the grand deal looking for rate flattening and loophole closing and the great big thing, he wasn't able to bear down the way he had been for a couple weeks, couple months before on the bush tax cuts and whether they need to be suspended. they dropped that and went for something grander. they'll come back to that. item, that's not a card they're playing. >> they're saying, yeah, they told the democrats and obama totally missed the chance to force the republicans to vote, again, on those taxes including the one you're talking about. now what the white house is saying, don't worry, we didn't do it now. when the bush tax cuts expire next year, we'll have this argument again. the president has conceded so many times on taxes, how is he going to turn around in the middle of an election year and
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successfully advocate for raising taxes on anybody? he is going to make that play, they're saying, but he hasn't. he has flirged two or three times on that point. chris: we asked the matthews meter, 12 of our regulars what would be the smarter political position for next year's republicans' presidential nominee, the actual candidate. looking at this debt fight, is it smarter to embrace the tea party people with all of their noise and anger or get some distance from it. 10 of our experts, if you want to call journalists experts, keep your distance, two say embrace, andrea, you think it is smart. if it's romney, he can probably distance himself from the far right. if it's perry, we'll talk about him in a few minutes or michele bachmann. they can't distance themselves. they are the tea party. >> the leading indicator this week was john mccain reading the riot act to the tea party on the floor of the democrat. this is the old john mccain, two versions ago. he was basically saying, you know, this is not the way you can live.
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chris: this whole question about about how this is going to be used next year, what do you think? >> again, have you the leading candidates, romney, pawlenty, having to dance with the tea party. you see romney so far sort of stand back on this whole thing and the not quite embears boehner. you can see huntsman really embraces the boehner plan. in some ways, it's going to reinforce this narrative for them that obama can't handle the economy. again, they'll say he is a nice guy, but not prepared to lead and he didn't live up to what people said. >> chris, the rein party isn't going to have a choice about whether to embrace or not. the tea party is going to decide whether they want to be part of the republican party or go their own way. chris: have their own candidate. >> exactly. whoever the republican nominee is going to have have a sister psychological moment -- soldier with the right. chris: will the democratic presidential candidate who will be president obama, will he be able to support any kind of spending program between now and the election meaning anything
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like a jobs program, a real shovel-ready jobs program, something that really gets people back to work or is he timeyed -- stymied by the detective talk? >> it will be something that he talks about in terms of investments. chris: will he have the nerve to be a progressive on any front in terms of spending? >> maybe he will be able to do that. look at the numbers. there is no money, no discretionary money. chris: has this whole fight squeezed a relatively liberal president back to being no better than? >> he will be for more new tax cuts before we're done. >> i agree. it will be tax cuts. chris: before we break, the next guy fixing to run the g.o.p. race for president is texas governor rick perry, but perry is already getting compared to his predecessor, texas governor george w bush and perry seems to be channeling bush. look at these side besides. >> you know, this annual meeting has truly become an incubator.
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that's what i call it. man, it hatches some great ideas. it's an incubator for good ideas. >> we need to unleash the private sector in america. >> i see a great day coming for america. >> even though perry looks like he is working hard to imitate bush, he is actually more authentic. he is a true believing deep south conservative compared to the blue blood bush who sometimes seemed to be playing a part. listen to this bite to how bush slips in the word desert. >> i think, see as i remember, i was raised in the desert, but tides, it's easy to see a tide turn. >> some folks look at me and see a sort of swagger which in texas is called walking. chris: well, of course, that dones mess with texas was swagger for another bush caricature, will farrell. he had an hbo special lampooning bush's texas image. bush is telling a story about leaving his brothers and dad
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into an abandoned mind shaft on a texas ranch. >> one time all the families that come down east, i took all the bush men, dad and jeb, neil, marvin, on a tour of an old abandoned mind shaft i found on the outskirts of the ranch. it was fun. all the bush guys reminiscing, clowning around in an old abandoned mine shaft when wouldn't you know, it collapsed on us. we be trapped for three days. god has a plan for me. if this is the way i go, then this is the way i go. then my dad is why are you the only man in this family that speaks with a texas accent? chris: is rick perry going somewhere. we'll ask these reporters, will perry be the main conservative rival to mitt romney, will he eclipse michele bachmann? be right back.
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chris: welcome back. texas governor rick perry appears ready to challenge mitt romney and michele bachmann. in the most reason poll has him already second to romney in this race. perry hopes to duplicate george w bush's pro pulling from austin to number one. the differences are highlighted by a great piece in "texas monthly" called "dear yankee, what you need to about rick perry. perry is the son of a pearm. he was born dirt poor. perry has always been close to the conservative base, never cozy with the establishment. mike, this is a question for everybody watching. is the new republican party right now the tea party oriented party really a rick perry party more than a gorge bush party? >> absolutely. this is what is interesting about his emergence in the race. if he didn't exist, the republican party would invent someone like him. this is a much more consent,
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much more down holm -- it's someone who has never been in washington, never really been part of the political establishment even in his own state. the bush family regards rick perry as something as a question, they're all pretty much against him. this has never been someone who was part of the mainstream culturally in terms of how he would appear to the rest of the nation. this is another reflection of how different the republican party is from where it was in 2000 or 2008. chris: it is sending mitt romney flat footed? he is just sitting there. is there a perfect time for perry to strike? >> perry was lieutenant governor and he did not get along. he was lieutenant governor when bush was governor. chris: i hear he hates you. >> i know you would use the word hate. it's not love, that's for sure. perry talking when he was down in virginia and virginia beach talking about who would be on his short list for vice president and he is already talking about bob mcdonald and
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chris cristi and marco rubio. so he is sort of cruising around there. he better look behind. chris: i get a sense that romney hasn't said a word about the debt fight. he is standing back and acting like i got this big lead. i'm not tackle. >> he is not engaging. the other candidates start to engage with him and talk about his records on jobs in massachusetts. he very much is above the fray now and in some ways looking toward -- chris: if rick perry comes in with a great jobs record and romney doesn't have one. how does he avoid that immediate fight? >> it's going to be hard to avoid that fight because you're going to have perry come in and say he is creating more jobs than any other state over the last years in office and you're going to have his record, romney's record in massachusetts where he was 47th, 48th when he was governor. you're also going to have perry come in and be the real guy. chris: will the boys club as we used to call it, sometimes the white boys club, the governors,
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will they get behind perry or is thering in wrong is there? i sense there might be. they think he is a winner in the general election? >> there is a lot of doubt. he is like the "saturday night live" version of george w bush, but he is perfect for the tenor of the republican party today, which i think in the debt fight is showing that they're in the midst of a slow motion secession politically from the rest of america. there is no place from which to make that argument better than from texas because texas used to be its own country. and rick perry has even talked about it. but politically, this is where the party is and where the tea party people are and that's why he is so good with them. chris: i have been high on the potential of michele bachmann. she is a great stump speaker and gets the audience going. mike, does he whiz right by her because she is a three term and had the question about the migraines, is it a perfect time to hit her and not romney? >> if he is going to have
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headaches, it isn't going to make a big difference. it's possible she will fade and he will do in iowa. he'll move on. >> the point is that michele bachmann, outer though she is, island she is, has been in congress. he has the virtue, rick perry does, nothing to do with washington. chris: you bring out a new product in september, karl rove? >> that was andy carr and getting ready to sell the iraqi war. chris: another guy like the new cars, kids looking for the new cars, i remember that, here is a guy coming out, is he going to -- i love these metaphors. who is more in danger now, michele or romney? >> michele. if he gets in, he will suck up all the oxygen. he is new an interesting. chris: play republican handicapper now. who is the best bet to run
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against the president next november right now? >> not rick perry. >> romney. >> mitt romney. >> still romney. chris: he covers a lot of territory. >> yeah. chris: i think so, too, he can be moderate, centrist, right. >> he has been all of that. chris: he is a multit
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chris: welcome back. howard, tell me something i don't know. >> chris, i did some reporting with a guy from london who is
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close to the president, david cameron. he says this is so big over there, there will be a lot of repercussions here in the murdock empire. investigations and maybe prosecutions down the road. chris: it's going to splash across the atlantic. is it going to hurt cameron a lot? >> he says cameron is going to stay. but look out, america. chris: great, nia. >> there is a battle brewing in texas and it's over rick perry's travel records. there was a law that was passed that sealed these for the next 18 months. big media corporations are going to sue. chris: what's the dirt? >> no one knows the dirt. chris: what can you hide in travel records? >> about who he has been meeting with, how much money he has been spending, taxpayer money. that is part of it. chris: the back story. andrea. >> we have been focusing on all of this, pakistan is doing petty things with our intelligence folks and even holding a cabinet level official and his entourage who arrived last week. he was held at the airport just
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checking over their passports. while that is going on, very, very quietly in new york resuming negotiations or talks between the u.s. and north korea. >> newt gingrich is about to lunch his third and final presidential campaign of the year, this one to retire his debt from the first two campaigns. he is $1 million in debt, not counting what he owes to private firms. this will take him all the way through iowa. that is the goal now. chris: what is his purpose? >> just to retire the campaign. chris: when we come back, the big question of the week, have we seen a turning point on how president obama will be conversationed up by history? be right back.
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chris: welcome back. this week's big question, when history looks at the obama presidency, will this debt crisis of the last several weeks be a turning point? >> no question that it will be, chris. it's going to define a lot of what he can do substantively and politically for the next several years. >> absolutely. it will be a turning point. it will replay in his
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re-election bid. we'll hear a lot about it. >> it's a turning point because it limits what he can do. it will tie his hands. chris: will he spend more money? >> i don't think it's a turning point unless this leads to the super duper deal that changes everything about our economic policy which there was a moment of, this will be seen as part of the post-2010. chris: i think the number one issue is the jobless rate come next summer. thanks to a great roundtable. howard fineman, nia-malika henderson, andrea mitchell and michael duffy. that's the show. thanks for watching. we'll see you back here next thanks for watching. we'll see you back here next week.
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The Chris Matthews Show
NBC July 31, 2011 11:00am-11:30am EDT

News/Business. (2011) Journalists Howard Fineman, Andrea Mitchell, Michael Duffy and Nia-Malika Henderson talk politics. New. (CC)

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on 9/2/2011